Apr 06 2020
Recently, I had a telephone briefing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who provided an update on the coronavirus outbreak and how we can all work together to flatten the curve. I want to remind everyone that the best way we can stay healthy and safe is by following social distancing guidelines, staying home, and continuing to wash our hands.
In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has completely upended how everyone in Nebraska and around the world is living their lives. To respond to this crisis, Congress unanimously passed the CARES Act, which President Trump then signed into law. It provides relief for families, hospitals, businesses, and our communities. Guidance on how you can access this relief is now being released.
Attention Small Business Owners:
On April 4th, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which was created through the CARES Act, began taking applications for loans. These loans are meant to help our small businesses keep workers employed, pay overhead, and avoid closing down for good during this pandemic. Small businesses are the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and they employ nearly half of our workforce.
- Ag producers are eligible to participate in this program. Reach out to your bankers and/or agricultural lenders to apply immediately. Click here for more information.
- Visit my website for more information if you are a small business owner interested in this program.
- Click here for more information on the program provided by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
- The Chamber of Commerce has resources available to help business owners understand what resources are available.
- To apply for loan assistance, visit the Small Business Administration’s website.
More Federal Resources on the Way to NE:
President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Nebraska. I led our state’s congressional delegation in echoing Governor Ricketts’ request for this assistance. The declaration will make federal funding available to assist our state in combatting the outbreak of COVID-19.
Direct Payments Coming in About Three Weeks:
During my telephone briefing, Secretary Mnuchin informed everyone that individual direct payments will start arriving in approximately the next three weeks for those who qualify. The Treasury Department also clarified that recipients of Social Security will be sent a check directly or through direct deposit. They do not have to file taxes.
Watch Out for Scammers:
Sadly, bad actors often exploit crises to take advantage of others, and COVID-19 scams are reportedly on the rise. The IRS will not be making house calls, sending emails, text messages, or social media posts asking for personal financial information. Remind your friends and loved ones of this to help prevent them from falling prey to these scammers. Visit IRS.gov for up-to-date information.
Nebraskans Abroad, Now is the Time to Come Home:
With coronavirus travel bans and countries closing their borders, it is challenging for Nebraskans who are overseas to find a way home. Since January 29th, the U.S. State Department has repatriated 33,500 Americans from over 60 countries to the United States. However, as this pandemic continues to grow, the State Department cannot guarantee they can get everyone back to the U.S. if they wait to seek assistance. If you have a friend or a relative who is still abroad and needs assistance, please contact my office at 402-441-4600 so we can help get them home.
I am always encouraged by how the citizens of the Good Life come together in the face of adversity to help one another. Click here to read my weekly column about how Nebraskans are finding ways to bring our communities together while social distancing is keeping us apart. I will be continuing to post more resources and stories on my website and on my social media platforms as they come out. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office directly if you are in need of assistance.
We are living through a very difficult time. I know people are scared and stressed. But I also know that people are praying for each other and for our country. Nebraskans are kind, caring, and compassionate, and many are reaching out to help each other as we all battle this virus.
I hope you and your families are staying well.
-Senator Deb Fischer